Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WOW! Ghana!

So, just to be clear, I have made it safely to Accra. Our plane landed at the Kotoka International Airport around 9PM GMT on Sunday night (for those of you confused, I landed around 5PM EST on Sunday). It was a flight that lasted in total 18 hours. The plane food was ... great. We had to eat on the plane because there wasn't much time to eat during the layovers. But, what matters is that we're here, we're safe and we're healthy.

We are staying at a student hostel near the University of Ghana at Lagon. Lagon literally translates into the hill. We each are paired two to three to a bedroom with the boy, Jordan, staying in his own room downstairs...he can keep it, there are massive cockroaches that come into his bathroom and I think it has to do with the fact that he is ground level. No roaches yet in our room! Thank GOD! They're larger here than what I've seen in the US.

Anyway, our hostel is great. A very nice woman named, Amelia, owns it and runs it with her two worker-helpers that have bringing water to our rooms every morning due to the lack of running water, and have been washing the dishes despite our requests to wash them ourselves. Very, very nice men.

We have been assigned our internships, finally! Our placements, though not official until the end of the week include:

1) The United Nations International Programs Organization
2) The ARCH Foundation-- to help women and children, including a shelter for battered women
3) The Human Rights Foundation
4) The Ag Foundation

We are staying at the hostel here with other university students that attend Lagon. One is from Nigeria. Though we have only met a handful of our house mates because we have been so busy.

We recieved cell phones and yes, I can recieve calls. It's very cheap! So, I am thankful for that. Though I am looking forward to getting some video chat on Skype set up ,as well.

Today we toured the Kwame Nkrumah National Museum. It was absolutely amazing! I LOVE NKRUMAH. I am hoping to find some of his books at the Lagon University Library. I am fascinated with the history of this nation and with the socialist ideas that were supported by Nkrumah, his allies, and the movement toward African Unity as well as Pan-Africanism.

We have also taken a small tour of Accra. And have been eating a lot of Ghanaian food. Main dishes include:

Waakye (prounounced Wa-chay)
Rice Cakes and GroundNut (Palm Oil) Soup

and many, many other dishes.

All the food is fresh, natural and healthy. We have been eating a lot of fresh fruit, including mango, pineapple, watermelon, grapes, and apples imported from South Africa. The juice is all fresh. The soda made with Cane Sugar. I wish that Americans ate as healthy, it's such a beautiful diet and way of life.

I hope to post pictures as soon as possible, but we'll be traveling for the next week and half.

Tomorrow we will be getting fitted for African-Ghanaian Style clothing for our welcome ceremony. Then we'll be learning to bargain in the Medina market and being taught how to cook the dishes.

Thursday we'll be going north to visit the Wli Village and the Wli Waterfall. I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO IT!

Let me know if you have any questions. Oh, yes. People carry EVERYTHING on their heads..men, women and children. Also, it's really hot. And we sweat a lot.

If you have a post request, tell me! I would love to fill y'all in on life here. It's new and fascinating.

Miss y'all much. And love ya!

FYI I can't write much tonight because I don't yet have my converter totally figured out. So, I apologize for the post being all over the place! Hope to get a connection by the first few weeks of March.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Kickoff Post

I've spent the last hour and half working to delete my other blogspot account..because I am losing my mind trying to work with Google Accounts and Blogger.com this afternoon. Oh well. I think I have most of the kinks worked out.

The name of this blog is "Dirty Socks"..Why Dirty Socks? I'm sure you are wondering. It's true, I likely will not even be wearing socks for the next two and a half months. But this was the title of a blog I created my freshman year of college and even though it does have the potential to bring to mind vulgar images (especially for people who are sickened by feet) I guess for some reason I like it and really like the blogger name. It's catchy, it's simple, and well, everyone has them (dirty socks, that is). I think it's also symbolic of how we move through life. Really, very few people where I live can live without socks. I mean, you can live but...socks are an essential, similar to underwear. When I go to Ghana, like when I travel anywhere, I will need the essentials: socks and underwear. It's culturally representative. So, I'm sticking with it.

In other news, I am less than one week out from my initial take-off. I'll be meeting my program mates this Saturday around 8PM and flying out of the Detroit Metro Airport, though the flight is the least of my concerns, really. I have so many tasks to perform between now and Friday: schedule completion, constructing an interview for field research, making sure my mosquito net has arrived, moving out of my professor's house and writing for final essays before Friday.

Tonight (tuesday) I'll be having a going-away dinner at Mumbai in East Lansing for friends, fellow organizers, activists and people that I would like to say farewell to before I leave, those that are in the area at least. Since I'll be in Washington, D.C. this summer, I won't be back in the Lansing area until August: the longest time I've been away from this fine place since I moved here in August 2007.

So, here is my kickoff post. I'll be posting on here as regularly as humanly possible. I'll be picking up a wifi connection for my laptop to ensure wireless in Accra, Ghana once I arrive.

OH! That reminds me! Do you all know where I am going? I want to be make sure everyone is clear! I'll be living in Accra, Ghana for two and a half months (until May 10th, 2010). There are photos above. Ghana is located in Southern West Africa. Accra is in the southern region, below the Savanna, located dead-on the equator and the climate is tropical. The Current temperature is 84 degrees Fahrenheit, with scattered clouds. What else about Ghana? There is so much to know! Kwame Nkrumah was the first President after Ghana gained its independence (first nation in Africa to do so!) in 1957. Nkrumah was also a father-founder of the Pan-African movement and is well remembered with honor by many Ghanaians.

I think that's a good overview for now. Let me know if you have any more questions or post requests. I'd be happy to fill them.